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Brothers Peter and Jeremy Oxley play in the Sunnyboys, one of Jon Campbell’s all-time favourite Australian bands.
‘I met Peter around 2002 at the Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney. I had made a Sunnyboys “setlist” painting, which was hanging in Darren’s office. Peter came in a few times to check out the painting, which he later purchased, and got to know Darren. I met him soon after and we have remained friends,’ says Campbell.
The band reformed in late 2012 and Campbell attended their first gig in Melbourne. In 2013, a documentary called The Sunnyboy was released, which followed Jeremy’s journey as he emerged from a 30-year battle with schizophrenia.
‘The film was very emotional and set the story straight about Jeremy’s illness and why the Sunnyboys disbanded in 1984,’ says Campbell.
‘The movie made me appreciate the closeness and love between them, which helped them through many trying and dark times. I tried to present this by literally painting them with their noses almost touching.’
Born in Northern Ireland in 1961, Campbell arrived in Australia in 1964. Now based in Melbourne, he taught painting at the Victorian College of the Arts from 1999 to earlier this year. He was also an Archibald finalist in 2005.